Pop-Tart Fillings · GF (enough to fill 12 Pop Tarts)
Here you will find 7 different fillings for homemade Pop Tart Dough. The method stays the same no matter which fruit flavor you choose but the brown sugar cinnamon version works a little differently.
I call for freeze dried strawberries, because plain dried strawberries have a tough, leathery quality and will wear out the motor of a food processor long before forming a paste. Even rehydrated in hot water, they’re too tough to use.
When I stumbled upon freeze dried strawberries at the grocery, I knew I’d found the solution. Like astronaut food, freeze dried strawberries have so little moisture they turn to powder with a single touch. An ounce and a half of freeze dried strawberries equates to a pound of fresh, so a relatively small amount can transform a bland apple/pear puree into an intensely pink, vibrantly strawberry flavored paste. Eureka!
Any one of the recipes below will make enough to fill 12 homemade Pop-Tarts (dough recipe here).
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Filling
3 ounces fresh bread crumbs (GF bread crumbs work perfectly too)
1 ounce unsalted butter, melted (use shortening for vegan)
4 ounces brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/2 ounces corn syrup
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until homogenous. Mash with a fork until it forms a damp sort of paste.
Scatter one tablespoon of the filling onto half of the prepared Pop Tarts pieces. Use your fingers to spread the filling into a rectangular shape, leaving a 1/4” margin all around the edges.
The fruit versions combine relatively bland, moist dried fruits (like apples, pears or apricots) flavored with a drier but more intense fruit like cranberries or freeze dried strawberries. By using a few different sorts of dried fruits, the filling takes on the best texture and flavor.
2 ounces of freeze dried strawberries (equivalent to over a pound of fresh!!)
4 ounces dried pear
4 ounces dried apple
1 ounce corn syrup
2 ounces dried plums
5 1/2 ounces dried blueberries
3 ounces dried apricots
1 ounce corn syrup
Mango Pineapple Filling
3 ounces dried mango, chopped into small bits first
3 ounces dried pineapple, chopped into small bits first
4 ounces dried pear
1 ounce corn syrup
5 ounces dried apple
3 ounces dried apricot
2 ounces dried cranberry
1 ounce corn syrup
2 ounces of freeze dried cherries
4 ounces dried pear
2 ounces dried apple
2 ounces dried cherries
1 ounce corn syrup
Chocolate Cherry Filling for Valentine's Day
5 ounces dried cherries
2 ounces dried apple
3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 ounce corn syrup
To make the filling:
Combine the dried fruit and corn syrup together in a food processor. Blitz until a paste is formed, letting the machine run for a minute or so to ensure no large bits have stuck in the corners.
You have two options regarding how to get the filling inside the Pop Tarts. I started out with the first method, but after months of Pop Tarting, I’ve switched to the second. Either way, don’t overfill. Pop Tarts only contain a thin smear of fruit filling inside.
1) Pipe the filling into the Pop Tarts by using a pastry bag fitted with a flat tip or an extra large petal tip. Pipe several rows of single-thickness filling to each pastry “bottom”, leaving a 1/4” margin all the way around.
2) Roll the fruit filling out between two sheets of plastic wrap, effectively creating a giant Fruit Roll Up. Then cut into appropriately sized rectangles to fit inside each Pop Tart. This method gives each Pop Tart a perfectly smooth layer of fruit paste inside, making the finished product quite flat and uniform in appearance.
Detailed instructions for rolling the paste
Have a small bowl of water and two sheets of plastic wrap at the ready. Spread one sheet on the counter and sprinkle with water; this helps prevent the paste from sticking to the wrap.
Then, using wet hands, gather the fruit paste into a ball and put it into the center of the plastic wrap and pat it into a square. Sprinkle the square with a few drops of water, then put another sheet of plastic wrap on top.
Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a 12 inch square, about 1/8” thin. If you take a lot of care to roll evenly, both up-and-down and left-and-right, you will create a very square like shape. Of course, you’re not a machine in a factory, so some places will have irregular sides or will turn out too long, etc. But you’ll have a rough square.
Gently peel off the top layer of plastic. Use a dampened ruler (it will stick to the paste otherwise) to trim the paste into a 12” square. Peel up the scrappy bits you trimmed off and patch together any gaps.
If necessary sprinkle some more water over the paste, reapply the plastic wrap, and give it another roll. This will seal the patchwork together and ensure the paste is uniformly thin.
Now use a dampened ruler and a pizza cutter (or knife) to cut out 12, 2 3/4” x 3 3/4” pieces. Cover the paste with the plastic wrap, transfer to a cookie sheet, and refrigerate or freeze until needed.
Once the Pop Tart dough is rolled out and ready for filling, unwrap the fruit paste and peel up each rectangle (with wet hands) and place each into the center of the pastry “bottoms.”
Proceed with the Pop Tart recipe.
Apr 03, 2011 · 2:29 PM
any chance of a brown sugar cinnamon filling? that one was always my favorite…
· RuthAnnW · www.mermaidsbath.com
Apr 03, 2011 · 4:03 PM
I never tried that kind before. I imagine just filling the tarts with brown sugar (and a sprinkling of salt & cinnamon!) would come close, but since I never had the original I can’t say for sure. Hmmm….
May 18, 2011 · 12:21 PM
Julia, you’ve got it. The key is to put the thinnest layer possible on top, so it dries into a crispy coating, like a real Pop Tart. Too thick and it’s a sugar cookie icing texture.
Dec 04, 2011 · 3:52 PM
@wannaknow, thanks! Yeah, a couple people haven’t realized that those are not actual Pop-Tarts, you kind of have to look closely to see that they’re homemade! My friend Kaitlin made a batch too, and she took more pictures of their insides, etc. Check ‘em out on her blog, Whisk Kid.
Dec 13, 2011 · 5:49 PM
Funny story regarding the pop tart filling. A client requested them for a party after seeing them on your website. I being a fan, was super excited that a) she has good taste in food blogs and b) that I got to give this recipe a whirl. I decided to make WildBerry poptarts- raspberry (freeze dried), Strawberry (also freeze dried), dried blueberries and ample dried apple.
But I have to say, the freeze dried did me in. I could only find the strawberry at Trader Joe’s. Unlike the Just Tomatoes with a clear package, these guys came packaged in a coated tin foil bag. The bag contained only 1.2 oz, so I tared out one ounce and proceeded.
Except that one ounce contained a desiccant packet. Which I proceeded to (attempt) to chop up in my robot coupe. It is now dead and a Cuisinart is chirping in its place.
· Hilary @Thistle Confections · thistleconfections.com
Mar 09, 2012 · 9:50 AM
@Hilary, how did I miss your comment for so long, yikes! My apologies. What a tragic, tragic story. That stinks sooo bad. If you need more for future endeavors, Just Tomatoes sells their freeze dried fruit online!
@Doc, sorry for the delay! Only the strawberries are freeze dried, the apples and pears are just plain dried. You can use all dried apples if you can’t find pear. Hope that info helps!
Mar 11, 2012 · 3:44 PM
Wow, those are some unusual fillings! Very interesting, and I never thought to make poptarts by myself.
· Kiri W. · www.healthyfoodietravels.net
Mar 11, 2012 · 5:26 PM
I’ve never even thought of making home made pop tarts before. I bet they are so good!
· Annie Oakley's Kitchen · anniesdish.com
Mar 12, 2012 · 10:27 AM
These are so fun! I used to love the cinnamon and brown sugar poptart, but I haven’t had it in YEARS!!
Congrats on the top 9!
· Erin · dinnersdishesanddesserts.com
Mar 12, 2012 · 11:28 AM
The Mango Pineapple filling sounds delicious. I need to try making some pop tarts. Thanks for the great post
Mar 12, 2012 · 12:41 PM
How lovely!!! Cinnamon filled pop tarts where my favorite as a little girl! Yours look amazing!!
· RavieNomNoms · ravienomnoms.wordpress.com/
Mar 12, 2012 · 1:09 PM
@Kiri, as you know, I am a total freak for all things homemade.
@Annie, I have to admit, I’m pretty partial to them.
@Erin, I’m a recent convert to the brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts but they’re great!
@Geri, for some reason, I am absolutely addicted to the texture of dried pineapple. Something luscious about it…
@RavieNomNoms, thanks so much girlie!
Mar 12, 2012 · 3:45 PM
OMG wow I didn’t know it was possible to make pop tarts at home! it’s so hard to get them in Melbourne now! Thanks for sharing Love all the fillings~
· Daisy@Nevertoosweet · nevertoosweetforme.com
Mar 12, 2012 · 6:12 PM
That brown sugar & cinnamon filling sounds unreal. The fruit fillings sound delightful as well! Such a fabulous post… thanks for sharing!
· Ally · allykayler.blogspot.com/
Mar 13, 2012 · 3:37 AM
Firstly I am so excited that you have a recipe for homemade pop tarts and now pop tarts with cinnamon you are awesome!!
· Konstant Kraver · konstantkraver.blogspot.com.au/
Mar 13, 2012 · 8:50 PM
@Daisy, I hope you can satisfy your Americana cravings soon!
@Ally, most welcome!
@Konstant Kraver, the demand for brown sugar cinnamon was intense. I’d never tried one until recently; then I understood. So cinnamony!
Apr 08, 2012 · 8:21 PM
After having made a number of those pie-crust pop tarts, and finding them good as little pies but just wrong as pop tarts,I went on a search for a “real” pop tart recipe and am so glad to have found this one! Thank you!
But any chance of a cherry filling recipe? I thought about just taking the chocolate out of the chocolate cherry one but worried the volume would be wrong. I love cherry anything, and cherry pop tarts were always my favorite.
Apr 08, 2012 · 10:42 PM
@Jess, I updated the filling list just for you; my take on pure cherry filling is now listed right above the chocolate cherry version. The freeze dried cherries and plain dried cherries combine to make a really intense cherry filling which should be right up your ally. Hope you like it!
Apr 10, 2012 · 11:29 AM
@Jess, you’re welcome, good luck!
Apr 26, 2012 · 10:23 AM
@Kristin, you’ve got it! The extra moisture in the fresh crumbs gives them a much better texture, compared to the crispy dry bread crumbs that come in a bag or canister.
If you want to make pure apple filling, use 8 ounces of dried apples, 1 ounce of freeze dried apples, and 1 ounce corn syrup. Follow along with directions for making the fruit fillings. You can add a bit of cinnamon to taste if you like apple cinnamon. Enjoy!
Apr 29, 2012 · 8:19 PM
@Tasha, I don’t have any experience with low sugar or sugar free baking, so I’m afraid I don’t have a solution I’ve tested before. Applesauce may be a good substitute since it will thin the dried fruit into a paste and also lend a little sweetness. Let me know if you try it!
Aug 10, 2012 · 5:51 PM
Grace, I haven’t tried one out yet, but if I ever do, I will post the recipe here!
Sep 20, 2012 · 9:17 AM
Hi Chris! I am not sure how Pop-Tarts makes their Watermelon flavor, but I suspect some artificial flavors or colors are involved. I would try to make a plain apple/pear filling and then flavoring it like watermelon, but I don’t know how you could do this on such short notice: grocery stories, etc don’t sell watermelon flavoring. With a little more time, you could certainly buy some online. Maybe give her a rain check while you hunt down the flavoring?
Sep 28, 2012 · 9:19 AM
Hi Lucy! I haven’t heard back from anyone on the applesauce front. Can I ask about your gripe against corn syrup? I know some people avoid it because of the GMO corn thing, and others because of the bad reputation of High Fructose Corn Syrup. If it’s the later, rest easy because corn syrup contains no fructose.
You could definitely try honey, but it would obviously add flavor and color. If that doesn’t bother you, then go for it! Hope the extra info helps!
Oct 01, 2012 · 9:21 PM
It’s just that the corn industry has become so “over grown”…there is no soul in it. It is a mono-culture that is subsidized to the point that it will drive up the cost of everything when it has a bad year (like this year). I prefer to buy locally and even though I may find a local corn grower, I can’t find local corn syrup. However, I can find local honey, local flour, and local fruit that I can dry. So, I think I’ll give the honey a try. Btw, the second ingredient in the last bottle of light corn syrup that I owned was HFCS…gawd it’s in everything!
Oct 01, 2012 · 9:37 PM
Hi Lucy! Yeah, I can definitely understand where you’re coming on the issue of monocultures (not to mention corn’s problem with GMOs). Sometimes corn syrup is, for a pastry chef, just the best option for getting a neutral invert sugar into a recipe without adding extra flavor. I don’t know where Karo stands on the GMO issue, but they are at least HFCS free. I definitely have a problem with the high fructose…
Not that you can use it for every recipe, but I have a recipe for corn syrup here on the blog. it can come in hand from time to time, though I haven’t tried it with this recipe….
Oct 05, 2012 · 8:56 AM
Hi Chloe! I hope you enjoy them, happy baking
Dec 11, 2012 · 6:24 PM
Hi Hiba! Omg, genius, I love it. Thanks for sharing!
Feb 25, 2013 · 10:15 PM
Hi Jen! You can absolutely make and freeze the fillings. I’ve never put the time to the test, but I would imagine that so long as you’ve got ‘em wrapped up an air tight, they’d last almost indefinitely. Hope that helps!
Feb 27, 2013 · 9:22 AM
Hi Jen! Yup! I like to toss the slices in the toaster to dry them out a bit, it makes crumbing much easier.
Apr 11, 2013 · 7:37 AM
I am currently living in Africa and freeze dried fruits along with dried fruits are difficult if not impossible to find. What alterations can I make to the strawberry filling if I use fresh strawberries (fresh apples and pears are scarce but I can locate them for a pretty penny, so maybe without those ingredients would be even more helpful). Fresh strawberries are wicked cheap (like $0.50 USD per couple pounds) so using a huge amount will not hurt the pocket book . Thanks for considering an alternative!
Apr 11, 2013 · 10:12 AM
Hi CiCi! I’m afraid I don’t have any suggestions for you off the bat. I spent a long time experimenting with different fillings to find one that would mimic Pop-Tarts exactly. Dried fruits are the only type dry enough to truly work.
Of course, you could make Pop-Tarts with a jam filling instead, BUT I would strongly recommend not using my recipe in that case. The dough portion of the recipe is designed to work with the dry fruit mixture, and jam or other wet fruit fillings would bubble out in the oven.
All that to say, this recipe is my best effort to make a literal Pop-Tart clone, and as a result all of the ingredients are pretty essential as-is. There are lots of great recipes out there for making Pop-Tart-esque pastries using fresh fruit filling, and they’ve been formulated with a more sturdy crust to match.
Wish I could come bearing better news!